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What Does a Family Tree Researcher Do?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 07 November 2016
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    Conjecture Corporation
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A family tree researcher is a type of genealogist who assists individuals in uncovering facts about their family histories. While this type of research may include tasks such as the identification of ancestors and the creation of a pedigree chart for the maternal and paternal lines, the work will also often involve tracking down details related to family lore, making it possible for people to better appreciate the character and setting in which different ancestors lived. Researchers of this type will often work with family members to track down relevant records that help to flesh out the history of the family and make it come alive.

One of the strategies used by a family tree researcher is to talk with family members and collect whatever information they have. This can often aid in building a family tree that includes at least some names, dates, and locations. From there, this data can be used to identify what type of public records can be used to add to that information. For example, the researcher may find that in addition to using census records from a given area, consulting registries at different houses of worship or even land records and property deeds in the city or town where an ancestor lived will provide more clues on how that person lived and interacted in the community.

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Part of the work of a family tree researcher is working as a genealogist. Assembling basic data provides the platform for more intense investigation into the lives of ancestors, since that data often makes it possible to identify specific geographical areas in which to focus the search. This means that even as the family tree is being expanded in terms of the number of identified ancestors, the family tree researcher has the potential to uncover long-forgotten facts that can shed light on family lore or help to settle a longstanding family mystery.

Both professional and amateur genealogists may function as researchers. The main qualifications for this type of endeavor is familiarity with the strategies used to locate information, where to look for that data, and how to use the information as a springboard to uncovering additional information. A professional family tree researcher will typically charge some type of fee for his or her services, plus expenses if travel is involved in the research into a particular relative.

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